When I was nine I had my first week at ballet school. I only lasted one week because my teacher, a grey little Japanese man in a shaggy brown cardigan and black ballet slippers, told my mother that it was no use my coming back next week -- my feet were too bad and I would never go on point. That confirmed a suspicion of mine, that the ugly "corrective" shoes which I so despised, had not and never would improve my feet. Nevertheless, I was disapointed, and had not until that moment realized that "going on point" was the sole (pun?) reason for taking dance lessons. Really, I thought the possibility of a tutu reason enough.
I just spent my second week at dance school. The Eagle Performing Arts Center Intensive was absolutely intensive. From 10-4 each day girls from 6 to 18 proved themselves enviably dedicated to learning and to performing. Against a backdrop of hot green walls, creamy venetian blinds, and glaring florescent lights they spent hours in warm-up, hours at ballet, at jazz, stretching, learning choreography, and -- perhaps the ultimate challenge--moving in unison.
The glaring lime colored walls, harsh lighting, venetian blinds, and mirrors made it pretty challenging for me as a photographer too, making it difficult to isolate a figure, correct skin tones, and make the flash work for me. In addition I had to stay out of the way! I recently suffered from a herniated disc and my physical therapist has been working with me to "strengthen my core," and the deeper psychological overtones of that terminology are not lost on me. In every way these young girls and young women and their instructors demonstrated the meaning of a strong core and corps. If they were in pain, believe me, so was I.
In the end I was happy with the results. In addition to getting the "artsy" and moody images that I was seeking, I also attempted to get a nice portrait shot of as many girls as I could, although there were so many of them in identical leotards I know I missed some. The results can be seen here: www.stacyericson.com but I wanted to put a few images up here as well. There are two groups, first the iPhone photos, mostly taken using OldCamera, which is slow, slow to develop, but occasionally delivers a result so outstanding it makes up for the app's deficits.
In the second group are a few of my favorite shots from my "real" camera, in which one can hardly tell that the walls were lime green! For obvious reasons, I've posted mostly anonymous images here, in which the faces, especially of the youngsters, can't be easily recognized, although I feel most happy about some of the portraits, caught without benefit of any of that easy-peasy POSING business.... definitely NO time for smile, look to the left, raise your chin....
Canon 50D images